Florida Today reports that both the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that handle NASA's budget have released markups for Fiscal Year 2013 that are less than what was requested by the Obama administration.
Members of a House Appropriations subcommittee proposed spending $500 million in fiscal 2013 on the Commercial Crew program. That's about $325 million less than the Obama administration requested.
The proposal comes a day after a Senate Appropriations subcommittee voted to provide $525 million for the program.
The Commercial Crew program has been helping a handful of private companies develop the spacecraft and rockets that could carry crew to the space station. The program’s goal was to move forward with at least two systems that would be capable of transporting astronauts to the outpost by 2017.
Though less than the $829.7 million NASA had requested as part of its fiscal year 2013 budget, both the House and Senate levels are more than the $406 million Congress gave the program for the current fiscal year.
Under-funding by Congress for FY12 pushed back by one to two years NASA's target year for commercial crew reaching operational status, meaning NASA will continue to rely on Russia for human access to the ISS.
SpaceX and Boeing, two of the four commercial crew program participants, have said they could be operational by 2014-2015 if Congress provided adequate funding. The SpaceX Dragon capsule design scheduled to launch April 30 to the ISS was intended for an eventual upgrade to ferry humans, so three years of cargo flight experience should help SpaceX reduce development time.